Friday, 8 April 2011

Ways of Seeing

I have a credit card. That credit card runs a free scheme whereby you get awarded points for every dollar you spend using the credit card. I belong to this scheme. My friend says I am stupid to belong to the scheme. She says that, if these schemes didn't exist, things would be cheaper. I agree with her - they probably would. However, these schemes do exist and my not joining one of them is not going to prevent them from existing. Therefore, I might as well take advantage of them. I should mention, perhaps, that I am writing this on a laptop that I received in exchange for points I had collected from my credit card's points scheme. My friend, on the other hand, has an ancient Apple that needs weird floppy disk things inserted into it after a few pages of typing. It cannot be connected to the Internet. It is probably about to become valuable as an antique.

Who is right? I think I am, because my friend is making a point, but no-one is paying any attention, whereas I am accepting that the status quo, although not ideal, is as it is and that, given I have little influence over it, I may as well work within it to my own advantage (I should also point out that I pay off my credit card debt in full at the end of each month and never use it just for the sake of getting points).

Despite my belief in my rightness, I find that I still can't help feeling guilty about my points and what they bring me. I think this is partly because I receive things, thanks to my decision to be in the scheme, whereas my friend receives nothing from her refusal. This reaction of mine may be purely the result of growing up in a Protestant culture: I have the feeling that, precisely because she gains nothing material, my friend has gained something more important - namely, the moral high ground.

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